Before we had sweet and dry, vermouth was typically described as Italian or French, geographical indicators that categorized the majority of the world’s commercially available vermouth. Things have come a long way since then. The craft cocktail renaissance of the past two decades has led to a renewed interest in vermouth stateside, with many new producers calling America home.
We’re eagerly drinking the bounty of this burgeoning industry. According to data from IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, consumers drank 6.8 million liters of American-made vermouth in 2018. Much of this volume was driven by cocktail bars.
“The rise of American vermouth is a very exciting development in the cocktail sphere,” says Sother Teague, the beverage director of New York City’s Amor y Amargo. He notes that more producers are popping up, making unique offerings based on indigenous botanicals. By fusing Old World techniques with New World ingredients, they’re opening up countless possibilities for mixing cocktails.
“Cocktail culture definitely leads the pack in this trend,” says Claire Sprouse, the owner of Hunky Dory in Brooklyn. “We brought sherry back, for goodness’ sake!” Sprouse also believes people’s desire to enjoy quality social experiences has led to more drinkers opting for lower-proof drinks.
“There’s an overall desire for simplicity, especially for consumers,” says Sprouse. “You can think of vermouths almost as a cocktail in a bottle that’s ready to serve.” Here, Sprouse and Teague share six of their favorite American vermouths.